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Chabot Space & Science Center Executive Director Alexandra Barnett Resigns - What About That DEFICIT!?!

This Montcarion Article leaves out a huge piece of information: that Chabot faced a $1 million budget shortfall as recently as July, and with no obvious money source to close it. She tells the reporter she's leaving for "the man of her dreams," but lets face it, if she knew she was going to continue to get paid and the Chabot board wanted her to stay, she'd stick around. After all, she says she's moving to Los Gatos -- that is the Bay Area.

Chabot director to resign

At year's end, Barnett will pursue personal interests and clear the way for new leadership
By Quynh Tran

Chabot Space & Science Center Executive Director Alexandra Barnett announced her resignation Wednesday to pursue personal interests and clear the way for new leadership as the center embarks on its goal of becoming a premier educational institution.

Barnett said she will leave at the end of the year but will remain involved with the center's new $4 million digital planetarium, a project she brought in during her four-year tenure.

The decision to leave her post was not an easy one for Barnett.

"My No. 1 priority is where this institution needs to be," she said.

Barnett had planned on leaving the center in the latter half of 2007, but knew she could no longer give a long-term commitment as the center positions itself with a goal of becoming one of the Bay Area's top destinations.

"I loved it here," she said.

But something else tugged at her heart.

"I met the man of my dreams," she said.

The couple is not yet engaged, but will live in Los Gatos.

Barnett plans to return to consulting and write her fourth book, possibly on the Russian space program.

The center will seek a recruiter to conduct a national search for Barnett's replacement, said board chairman and former City Council member Dick Spees.

"Alex has done an outstanding job of streamlining operations and revitalizing the space exhibits and the planetarium to keep Chabot on the cutting edge of science education," Spees said.

An interim executive director will be named to oversee the center's annual $6 million budget. The center hopes to complete its search by June 2007.

Barnett was recruited from England, where she had been a key player in the conception and delivery of the National Space Center in Leicester.

She said she will remain a lifelong member of Chabot, whose dual mission included endearing youths to science in the classroom and enticing the public with the latest scientific advances and discoveries. She said the center plans to become the leader in environmental sciences education.

She said it's the emotional connection to science that a student or visitor experiences that engages him or her with science.

Barnett said, for example, when people see Earth from space -- even if it's only a projected image while in the planetarium -- they begin to realize how small they are in the universe. She said visitors become more committed to learning about it.

"It's a broadening perspective," she said. "Space is not just about looking out, it's also about looking back."
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